On Sunday, Dwyane Wade stepped up to the plate to give a heartfelt graduation speech and surprise the class of 2019 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
The retired NBA star offered heartfelt thoughts on what the students have endured since the February 2018 shooting in Parkland, Florida that killed 17.
During his speech, ESPN reports, the former Miami Heat player reflected on a time when he visited the school after the fatal shooting.
“I remember walking to the school, and I remember hearing absolutely nothing,” the former Miami Heat player said on stage at the graduation. “I remember thinking to myself, ‘I’ve never felt … never heard this kind of silence before in my life.’
“… I remember being so nervous to see and meet everybody. What would I say? I grew up in the inner city of Chicago and I’ve experienced a lot of awful things. But I’ve never experienced anything to the magnitude that you guys have just experienced. …
“What started going through my mind was how do I dare come in here and act like I know what you guys have been going through? How narcissistic of me to think I can come here and make a difference because I’m good at my sport. I remember walking slowly to the cafeteria. As I was walking in, students started seeing me, I remember seeing smiles, people running, pulling out their phones. … I remember thinking, ‘Wow.’ It was packed. I didn’t expect that.”
— Complex (@Complex) June 2, 2019
In March, Wade visited the school and paid homage Joaquin Oliver, a student who was killed in the attack and who was a big fan of the NBA stars. Oliver was buried in a Wade Miami Heat jersey.
Dwyane Wade on his emotional meeting with family of Joaquin Oliver pic.twitter.com/5nH6Qsal3w
— Tom D’Angelo (@tomdangelo44) March 4, 2018
Oliver’s sister appeared in a special tribute produced by Budweiser to celebate the NBA All-Star’s final season.
To close the graduation celebration, Dwyane Wade then led the crowd in a chant: “to the last man, to the last minute, to the last second, we fight, we fight, we fight!”
He ended by saying: “MSD Strong.”